The head of Eurozone finance ministers has warned multinational corporations to pay their share of tax, less than two weeks after Apple was handed a €13bn bill by EU authorities.
The European Competition Commission ruled that the tech giant had been handed a “sweetheart” deal amounting to state aid by the Irish government.
And now, head of the Eurogroup and Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has issued a fresh warning as the EU drafts plans for a common corporate tax base, and a single European blacklist for tax havens.
"My message to those companies is you are fighting the wrong battle. You have to move on. Times are changing," Dijsselbloem said as he arrived at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Bratislava.
Firms facing probes in Europe at the moment include Amazon and McDonald's, while Starbucks has been ordered to pay up to €30m in back taxes to the Dutch state.
Ireland and the Netherlands are both appealing against the EU's verdicts in respect of Apple and Starbucks respectively.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble welcomed the efforts while EU Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen said new rules were needed to eliminate mismatches and loopholes between member states' tax systems that companies exploit.
"What is clear is that with every new case of unfair tax practise or abuse, public frustration grows," he told a news conference at the conclusion of the summit.
Ministers at the meeting also discussed a paper presented by the Slovak presidency of the EU calling for more tax certainty for multinationals. It aims to step up cooperation among EU states and also make companies' tax bills more predictable.